Make Your Own (Compound) Butter

Making your own butter is simple and rewarding – nothing tastes quite as good as homemade.  Just put heavy cream in your blender or food processor for about 10 minutes, or until the butterfat separates from the buttermilk (mine took a little less than 10 minutes).  Once you’re there, you’ve got fresh unsalted butter.  But why on earth would you stop now?  Jazz it up with thyme, sage, honey, cayenne pepper, or, as the video shows, add some chopped porcini mushrooms and black truffle salt. 

Oh, and whenever you’re working with small appliances, be sure to wear your geek glasses for protection 🙂

Broiled Honey-Glazed Spiced Figs

honey-broiled spiced fig copy 
The first signs of Fall have arrived: the mornings are crisp and overcast, the slutty mannequins at the costume shop on Denny are dressed as pirates, and figs are plentiful and cheap.  Fresh figs are one of the most versatile Fall fruits around, and also one of the most delicious.  Baked, grilled, or, in this case, broiled, they’re kinda hard to screw up.  For this preparation, we’re glazing sliced figs with honey and spices – feel free to substitute whatever smells good to you (try Chinese Five Spice) – then broiling until the honey caramelizes.

Makes: 1 dozen sweet Fall treats
Total kitchen time: 15 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 12 fresh figs
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  1. Preheat your broiler and set the top rack as close to the heating element as possible. 
  2. Rinse the figs and pat dry.  Cut off stems (optional, but the stems aren’t edible).  Slice figs in half lengthwise, from stem to root.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl (measurements are approximate – do what looks/smells/tastes good to you).
  4. Lay the figs, cut side up, on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the cut side of the figs with honey.  Sprinkle over the spice mixture.
  5. Broil on the top rack until the honey bubbles and just begins to brown, about 10 minutes.  Note: watch the figs closely – cooking time will vary from oven to oven.  Alternately, you can place the figs cut side down on a hot grill for about 10 seconds.
  6. Remove from heat and serve. 

These broiled figs are dying to be slathered with mascarpone or tossed with green beans, goat cheese and bacon for a beautiful fall side dish.  Or, just eat them as-is for an afternoon snack or super-easy hors d’oeuvre!


Broiled Honey-Glazed Spiced Figs on Foodista

Ahi Tuna Burger with Nori Fries and Wasabi Garlic Mayo

ahi burger with nori fries 
On a recent visit to Joule, I had the great fortune of tasting their nori butter, which is a geniusly simple combination of soft butter and flakes of seaweed paper.  Now, thinking of seaweed as a seasoning and not just a wrap, I was inspired to create these nori fries.  And since fries need a burger, why not continue the Asian theme with a classic ahi tuna burger.  Pickled ginger replaces standard pickles, and a pungent wasabi garlic mayo adds a little kick and sweetness to the dish.

Total kitchen time: 45 mins
Makes: Burgers and fries for 4

Shopping list:

Ahi Tuna Burgers

  • 1.5 lbs ahi tuna steak
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. peanut oil, for cooking
  • 4 sesame seed brioche hamburger buns
  • 1 handful watercress
  • 1/4 cup pickled ginger
  1. Preheat the peanut oil a heavy-bottomed skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  2. Slice the ahi steak into 1/4” strips, then chop into 1/4” cubes.  Combine with the green onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, honey, soy sauce, red chili oil and beaten egg in a medium bowl.
  3. Divide the ahi mixture into 4 equal parts and form into 1” thick patties.  Press each patty firmly together to hold its shape. 
  4. Carefully transfer to the skillet and cook to medium-rare, about 1 minute per side.
  5. Assemble the burgers by topping the bottom bun with some watercress, then the ahi patty, followed by a little pickled ginger.  If you like, spread a little wasabi garlic mayo on the top bun.

Nori Fries

  • 2 lbs. French fries, prepared
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 sheet toasted nori (seaweed paper), crumbled (about 1 tbsp.)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  1. Make your fries, or heat up some decent frozen ones. 
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the fries with the olive oil and crumbled nori.  If necessary, add salt to taste.

Wasabi garlic mayo

  • 2 tbsp. wasabi powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp. mayonnaise
  1. Combine all ingredients. Duh.

This turned out to be a really tasty summer dinner, and I may have to carry around a jar of nori to sprinkle over my fries at Dick’s.  What’s your favorite French fry topping?  Leave your answer in the comments below.